Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

New-home sales eke out gain for August

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Sales of newly built single-family homes inched up by 0.7 percent from July to August, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 429,000 -- a 3.4 percent slowdown from a year ago, the Census Bureau said.The month-over-month gain was less than expected by some analysts, but the boost in sales -- along with the slower pace of construction of new homes -- helped builders trim inventories.The 262,000 new homes on the market at the end of August represented 7.3 months of supply, down from 7.6 months in July and a peak for the year of 12.4 months in January. A six-month supply of homes is generally considered an even balance between supply and demand.August marked the fifth month in a row that Census Bureau numbers showed sales of new homes increasing and inventories decreasing from month-to-month.While homebuilders fear much of the increase in sales is driven by a federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers that is set to expire Nov. 30 (see story), low interest rates and falling prices have...